You don’t see certain critters out in the wild very often because they are naturally skittish or because they live off-the-beaten path. But one animal that does make its appearance around these parts — and typically in large herds — is the elk.
Only out-sized by the moose, elk is one of the largest species in the deer family and one of the largest mammals in North America.
Elk typically make their home in the mountainous areas of the state and particularly in the Moreno Valley near Red River, Eagle Nest and Angel Fire. Deepening snows in the mountains force elk to migrate to lower elevations where forage such as grasses, shrubs, tree bark and twigs can be found. Some of the state’s other popular places for elk viewing is the Valle Vidal on the Carson National Forest in Unit 55 and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument near Questa.
“Of all the big game found in the West, the elk stands supreme in a class by himself,” wrote Thomas P. Gable, New Mexico Game and Fish Warden, in a 1909-1911 report.
— Scott Gerdes